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All across this country in small towns, rural areas and cities, alcoholism and drug abuse are destroying the lives of men, women and their families. Where to turn for help? What to do when friends, dignity and perhaps employment are lost?

The answer is Palm Partners Recovery Center. It’s a proven path to getting sober and staying sober.

Palm Partners’ innovative and consistently successful treatment includes: a focus on holistic health, a multi-disciplinary approach, a 12-step recovery program and customized aftercare. Depend on us for help with:

3 Ways to Build Mental Muscle in Recovery

3 Ways to Build Mental Muscle in Recovery

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Justin Mckibben

When we ease our way out of the mental fog that is created in active addiction we may find ourselves with a bit of a mental block. Some people theorize that whatever age you are when you start excessively using substances is the age that you will remain mentally until you detox and break away from the substances. Then once you have cleaned up, you begin a slow process of redeveloping the mind to try and catch up with your age. While it makes sense that the brains growth is stunted by the use of drugs, we can admit some of it may not have to do with our capacity to cultivate our intellect, and more to do with the fact many of us shrug off intellectual pursuits while actively using drugs or alcohol.

We may find we have to put in more work to build mental muscle in recovery. Clearing our minds of years’ worth of chemical conditioning can take some time, but we can exercise our minds to help make ourselves smarter.

Here are 3 ways to build mental muscle in recovery.

  1. Challenge yourself in different ways

One way to step up your smarts is to go out of your way to engage in tasks that are diverse and challenging. If you are used to reading and writing a lot, try stepping out of that familiar space and working on something that stimulates the mind and body in a different way.

Other hobbies or chores can be challenging either mentally or physically. Some people will chose to exercise or play team sports, evoking a different form of concentration. Others will tackle a list of household projects which might not be intellectually stimulating, but require discipline.

“Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.”

-Thomas A. Edison

In recovery you will find a lot of opportunities to experience different modes of thinking. One suggestion I will pass on is to practice meditation. Slowing down and finding quiet and reflective moments can help the mind sort through some of the busier information. For a lot of us just sitting still is extremely challenging.

Find ways to push your mind to grow in different directions once in a while.

  1. Learn to use social thinking

The fact is that intelligence has never been limited to what goes on in our own mind. A more inclusive definition of “thinking” includes external sources that supply us with a variety of perspectives. Makes sense, since basically everything you can “know” comes from experiencing the outside world and digesting the information on the inside.

Social dynamics and social remembering play a big part in committing information to memory. When we interact with each other and take on new data, we can attach emotions to it based on the social setting. These subtle anchors help us to store the information.

“Whatever you do in life, surround yourself with smart people who’ll argue with you.”

-John Wooden

In recovery you have countless opportunities every day to interact with others in recovery. You get to sit and discuss strategies for sobriety, philosophical ideas and share deep emotional experience. Through the experience, strength and hope of others we build mental muscle in recovery. This is part of why sharing and 12 Step meetings are so effective. They provide us with a new format to learn as we grow.

  1. Do things with passion

Another way to build mental muscle in recovery is to find passion in what you are doing. Wisdom comes from information and experience, and a lot of times our understanding is magnified when we can connect on a deeper level with it.

Sometimes it is difficult to be passionate about things that you wouldn’t be easily interested in. Some of us find we have to research things for school or work that aren’t what we naturally are attracted to intellectually. However, by seeking an aspect of every assignment that we can internalize and make it our own we can optimize our ability to retain the information. Our emotions are stronger for our minds than we think.

“The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.”

-Albert Einstein

So, to build more mental muscle in recovery using your passion, you can look for the element of each obstacle that makes it matter to you on a personal level. Sometimes therapy or 12 Step work will seem tedious and irrelevant, but if you find a way to be passionate about it, even if it’s just to get it done, you have a better chance of holding onto the information.

In fact, finding a passion for your sobriety is probably a huge way of building your mental muscles in recovery. Getting smarter isn’t just about staring into a book and recording the words. Intelligence doesn’t just mean collecting data. It also means knowing why the data matters at all.

Do Better

In life you don’t necessarily need to be the most book smart person to succeed. In all honesty, everyone has their own measure of what success even means. Building mental muscle in recovery might give you a new definition of what success means. Either way, to open your mind and grow in knowledge and awareness has the ability to change your life.

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

-Maya Angelou

Overall, it is important for us to pay attention to our mind and bodies. As we change our lives, it is important to grow. Only by building mental muscle in recovery can we reach our potential for freedom and fulfillment. In recovery, it is important to recognize what drives you, and expand your awareness and understanding. 

If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free:

   1-800-951-6135

How Exercise Helps With Adult ADHD

How Exercise Helps With Adult ADHD

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Shernide Delva

Hate Exercising?

Well, you might want to ignore this article, especially if you struggle with ADHD. We are basically going to tell you another awesome benefit of exercise and try to convince you to do it on a regular basis again.  Maybe today is the day you reconsider…

Exercising regularly can be overwhelming at first, but it does not have to be. Turns out, exercise, even a small amount, can alleviate symptoms of ADHD in adults. According to a new study conducted at the University of Georgia, exercise has been shown to reduce symptoms of ADHD in adults.

Close to 6 percent of Americans report symptoms consistent with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. Over time, untreated symptoms of ADHD can lead to anxiety, depression, low energy, motivation and poor performance at work or school.

The good news is even a small amount of physical activity can help with these symptoms of ADHD.  The study was released this month in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. The study found that even a single bout of exercise has psychological benefits for adults with ADHD symptoms.

“Exercise is already known as a stress reducer and mood booster, so it really has the potential to help those suffering with ADHD symptoms,” said the study’s senior author Patrick O’Connor, professor in the UGA College of Education’s kinesiology department. “And while prescription drugs can be used to treat these symptoms, there’s an increased risk of abuse or dependence and negative side effects. Those risks don’t exist with exercise.”

The study conducted at the University of Georgia tested 32 young men with elevated ADHD symptoms.  The men would cycle at a moderate intensity for 20 minutes on one day, and on another day sat and rested for 20 minutes as a control condition. The men were asked to perform a task that required focus before and after the different conditions and researchers noted leg movement, mood, attention and motivation to complete the task.

The results revealed that exercise helped participants feel more motivated to complete tasks. Participants felt significantly less confused and fatigued and instead felt more energetic. Although exercise did not change the task, it helped the young men feel better about doing the task.

These findings are consistent with research done in the past which stated exercise helps people feel more energetic. The new results in this study confirm that symptoms of ADHD can benefit psychologically from short workouts.

“The reduced feelings of confusion and increased motivation to perform a cognitive task suggest that other types of acute exercise also may benefit cognitive performance,” added study co-author Kathryn Fritz, a UGA doctoral student who completed the study as part of her master’s thesis. “We speculate that a different mode or duration or intensity of exercise, other than a boring cycle ride in a sterile lab, may show larger cognitive effects for those suffering from ADHD symptoms.”

All of us are probably aware of the benefits of exercise; however most of us do not get enough. This study is promising because it shows that even the smallest amount of exercise, just 20 minutes, is sufficient to produce benefits in our cognitive function

Just 20 minutes of exercise added to your day can make the difference in how you perform on a physical and cognitive level. If you suffer from ADHD, try adding an exercise routine into your lifestyle. It can be as simple as ten minutes in the morning and ten minutes at night. Quick jogs around the neighborhood would be enough, or try something like cycling. Workout videos are great ways to fit in workouts when you are limited on time and do not feel like leaving your house.

Addiction and ADHD are often correlated and changing your lifestyle can be the answer you need to make the early stages of recovery a much smoother process. ADHD affects all areas of life, so it is important to get those symptoms under control.  If you are struggling with addiction or mental health issues, give us a call. We can help.  If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

Opioid Alternatives: Should Doctors Weigh Other Options?

Physical therapist helping patient on exercise staircase.

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Shernide Delva

Over the last decade, the increase in opiate painkiller abuse and heroin abuse has been alarming to say the least. The 2014 statistics state that a person dies every 4 minutes from a drug overdose or alcohol-related event. Prescription pain killer abuse is an epidemic in the United States and as a result, alternatives are being considered to prevent more and more people from developing a dependency to opioids. Are there better methods of managing chronic pain?

Many believe so and are pushing for a change. While opioid medications are effective at reducing pain, they are very addictive, and other alternatives should be looked at before doctors prescribe opioid medications.

So, what options are available? Fortunately, there are a variety of options available for pain relief that range from non-opioid medications to non-medicinal therapies. Discussing these options with your doctor can help provide you with a pain management program that has a lower risk for dependency.

The Best Opiate Alternatives

  • Over-the-Counter Acetaminophen
    Acetaminophen is a drug more commonly known by the brand name Tylenol. It is recommended as a first-line of treatment by the American College of Rheumatology. While scientists are not sure on how the drug works, most theorize the drug works by inhibiting the synthesis of chemical messengers called prostaglandins, which help to transmit pain signals and induce fever. This drug is non-addictive and can be very effective.
  • Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
    NSAIDs are more potent than acetaminophen and include anti-inflammatory drugs such as Aleve. These drugs work by reducing inflammation; however they run a risk of risk of organ toxicity, kidney or liver failure and ulcers. Use in moderation for optimum success.
  • Corticosteroids
    Steroids inhibits nerves in the body and provide pain relief. The drawbacks to steroids are that they can potentially accelerate join destruction. Other side effects can include immune system suppression, gastrointestinal issues and psychiatric effects.
  • Serotonin and Norepinephrine Re-uptake Inhibitors
    Anti-depressants may be appropriate for nerve, muscular and skeletal pain. They also help with insomnia and anxiety. This is a great alternative because these drugs do not have the same side effects of opioids.
  • Physical Therapy
    Physical therapy requires more work from the patient but can be extremely useful in improving physical healing and relieving pain long-term. Physical therapy can be done in sessions and recommended exercises can often be done at home.
  • Massage, Acupuncture and Chiropractic Care
    Acupuncture is an ancient art form that has been used for thousands of years. Some find acupuncture to be just as effective, if not more effective than medications. On the bonus side, it is a totally natural safe alternative to opioid medication.
  • Exercise
    Exercise is beneficial for so many reasons. Surprisingly, exercise has been shown to be healing for those with chronic pain. Low-impact exercises can help improve mobility and functionality. Activities like yoga and ta-chi can be helpful for many ailments.

Chronic pain affects millions. Whether we like it or not, pain is a real occurrence, and sometimes opioid medications may be the only option. However, if other alternatives and other methods of care can be promoted, it can help prevent the amount of patients suffering from dependence to these drugs. Often, taking a prescription opioid may not be the best option. As the prescription pain killer epidemic continues to gain media attention and  political awareness,more attention should be placed on prevention methods, as well as treatment.

Overall, ask your doctor to weigh the alternative options available. Together, both of you can decide the best method of pain management. What do you think? Should doctors weight other options? If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

Lack of Exercise Linked to Alcoholism

Lack of Exercise Linked to Alcoholism

Author: Shernide Delva

A new study reveals a link between alcohol dependence and lack of exercise. African Americans who did not engage in physical activity were twice as likely to abuse alcohol as those who did exercise. Although the study focused specifically on African Americans, researchers believe the results could have implications across all demographics.

The survey of 5,002 African American men and women found that those who did not exercise at all or only occasionally exercised had an up to 88 percent higher chance of abusing alcohol than those who engaged in some form of physical activity. This was after adjusting for factors such as income and neighborhood characteristics.

The study participants were drawn from the National Survey of American Life (NSAL) and aimed to identify racial and ethnic differences in mental disorders and other psychological distress. The study used the DSM-IV definition of alcohol abuse which is defined as drinking that has “negative social, professional and/or legal consequences.”

The survey was presented at the American Public Health Association meeting in Chicago on Nov. 2.  Lead researcher, April Joy Damian, a doctoral student at the Department of Mental Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, believes that these results could advance the knowledge the link between exercise and the odds of alcohol use disorder.

“Given that alcohol use disorder has a high rate of co-occurrence for depression and anxiety; it merits further study all around, for African Americans as well as others. We should consider how physical activity contributes to alcohol-related behavior and design interventions for people who are at risk.”

The question remains, however, if existing alcohol dependence results in lack of exercise too. One of the symptoms of alcoholism is muscle atrophy.

Alcoholism is linked to health problems such as:

  • Liver Failure
  • Gastrointestinal Problems
  • Weakened Immune System
  • Metabolic Bone Diseases

In addition to those symptoms and many others, alcoholism can cause progressive muscle wasting in alcohol abusers as well. Alcohol decreases the amount of blood flow to muscles which weakens them and may even lead to muscle death. Alcohol inhibits the repair of muscles making it difficult to completely recover.

Alcohol and Exercise

Alcohol and exercise do not go well together so if you are trying to begin an exercise regimen, you may want to cut back on the booze. The way alcohol is absorbed by the body can reduce the amount of fat you’re able to burn in the gym. Your body is not meant to store alcohol so it tries to expel it as quickly as possible. So when you are exercising, your body tries to expel the alcohol first slowing down the amount of calories you burn.

Alcohol also gets in the way of the nutritional meals you eat to try to lose weight and boost your health. When you eat, food must be broken down so it is available to energy and maintenance of body structure and function. Alcohol inhibits the breakdown of nutrients into usable molecules.  Overtime, alcohol decreases the secretion of the digestive enzymes from the pancreas that help with digestion. Even when nutrients are absorbed, alcohol can prevent them from being fully utilized by the body.

For those trying to lose weight and get back into shape, it is highly recommend to cut back on or cut out your alcohol consumption completely.  Research shows that alcoholic drinks can slow down your body’s fat-burning process by 73 percent! Think about that for extra motivation if you are struggling with letting go of your alcohol drinking tendencies. Overtime, alcohol use can lead into alcohol dependence which, of course, results in even more health implications.

The link between exercise and alcohol reveals that alcohol has a negative impact on a person to engage in a healthy lifestyle. Alcohol wrecks damage on the body that eventually makes it difficult to recover from without treatment. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135

Is the Food Industry the Next ‘Big Tobacco’?

 Is the Food Industry the Next ‘Big Tobacco’?

By Cheryl Steinberg

Exercising is overrated when it comes to losing weight.

Do I have your attention?

Good, because we’re about to drop a knowledge bomb on your head. For all of you out there struggling to lose weight via hard work at the gym, and who make excuses for a “cheat’ day or that you can eat whatever you want, because, after all, you work out…I have some news for you.

First, let me just say that there are definite health benefits of working out, or even incorporating some kind of physical activity, such as going for walks, especially if done on a daily basis.

However, if you want to lose weight, I’ll tell you the secret: eat healthy.

That’s it. When it comes to shedding weight, exercise alone isn’t enough. Or even all that relevant. It’s about eating the right foods. And to begin learning how to do that, you must first understand that you are facing a battle with a big entity: that of the food industry.

In Britain, a team of cardiologists have decided that it’s high time to “bust the myth” that regular exercise safeguards against obesity.

The physicians submitted a strongly-worded editorial in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, which will appear in the upcoming May edition. In it, they say that the bottom line, when it comes to losing weight, is that you simply can’t out-run a bad diet. They are sure to add that regular exercise reduces the risk of developing a number of health problems, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and even dementia and certain cancers. However, it is not the key ingredient in weight loss.

Is the Food Industry the Next ‘Big Tobacco’?

The authors of the study compare the situation with our food industry with that of the tobacco industry that happened years ago.

They accuse the food industry of misleading the public into believing that obesity is caused entirely by an inactive lifestyle, rather than what’s in their packaged (read: packed with hidden sugars) products. They add that the public is being “drowned by an unhelpful message” and go as far as to describe the tactics being employed by the food industry are “chillingly similar” to those used by big tobacco companies when the science connecting lung cancer and smoking were first becoming known.

“The tobacco industry successfully stalled government intervention for 50 years,” they say. “This sabotage was achieved using a ‘corporate playbook’ of denial, doubt, confusing the public and even buying the loyalty of bent scientists, at the cost of millions of lives.”

If you’ve noticed, the main belief we tend to have when it comes to food consumption is that we just need to count calories. The authors were also critical about this, saying that the food industry is what’s driving this belief. The problem with this is that it’s the source of calories that matters, the editorial asserts, arguing that sugar calories promote the storage of fat and causing you to feel more hungry, while calories that actually come from fat make a person feel full.

The editorial also makes a good point about sports and energy drinks (read: sugary drinks), saying that the relationship between “junk food and sport, must end.” It calls on the British government to put a tax on sugary drinks and ban the advertising of junk food as well as calling for gyms to stop selling these beverages.

In a statement emailed to Mashable, Britain’s Food and Drink Federation strongly rejected comparisons with the tobacco industry, calling them “absurd and offensive.”

So, here it is…the not-so-magical-yet-highly-effective way to weight loss:

Eat a balanced, calorie-controlled diet and get into activities such as fast walking, jogging, swimming, or tennis for up to 300 minutes per week.

And by “calorie-controlled,” the authors, using a study in the academic journal Nutrition, say the single most effective way to fight off obesity is to restrict the intake of carbohydrates.

An unhealthy relationship with food and/or exercise can develop into a full-blown eating disorder. Sometimes, people use drugs as a way of staying thin. This can lead to a situation known as dual diagnosis, where there are 2 or more medical conditions present at the same time and that are most successfully treated when done so at the same time. Eating disorders can be difficult to treat however, there are programs that specialize in treating eating disorders as well as co-occurring substance misuse and abuse. If you or a loved one is struggling in this way, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

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